Monday, February 25, 2008

The Beginning of Uni...again.

Well, today marks the real beginning of my university life once more - I have a tutorial this afternoon (one of those tutorials where they don't need a lecture - I think they're starting to call this a 'lectorial' now?) which I'm sure will be fascinating.

Before I enter my first class, I'll have already gone to teach R.E. at my alma mater. This will be the fifth year that I've taught R.E. there (although I only taught half-years for two, so I've done the equivalent of three years teaching), but between having not taught there for eighteen months and having picked up some of the basics of what a teacher is like (i.e. like a teacher, not like a buddy) when I taught those students still at school, I'll effectively have the advantage of starting teaching properly.
I would say that I've definitely and infinitely grown as a teacher since I started in 2003. I was so desperate to connect with my students then that I lost their respect after about six weeks - which made the remaining 25-30 weeks, well, consist of various degrees of 'unpleasant'. I'm sure that I'm a better teacher now largely because of how I crashed and burned for a solid two years - when I taught two years ago (and last year, in a different context), I acted a lot more like a teacher who was teaching information to students who needed to know that information, and I got the results.
Doing Education at uni will, I think, give me a bigger edge than what I previously had - the behaviour management component most of all, but also the ability to plan a unit of work and such.

In lifeblogging - the remainder of O Week was woeful. Friday was a day with lectures in it that I just shouldn't have bothered with, although I'm glad I went because now I know what I wasn't missing.
The weekend was good - farewelled a fellow parishioner (who's going to Greece), had a decent chat with a friend from the church I go to on Sundays; went to my parent's house, got two boxes of books (including two textbooks that I was missing, and the Lenten Triodion - obviously very essential!).
There's an 'Orthodox Christian Convert Group' being established at my-church-on-Saturday-night - fairly sure it's basically unique in its need and presence. Hope it goes well.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

O Week Happenings

Well, this week has been rather busy. For the first time since, oh, about December, I've actually had reason to leave the house every day this week.

This year, I'm actually attending O(rientation) Week at my university.

I'm not sure why, really. I know that the uni really pushes O Week (as evidenced by all the correspondence I've received from them), but I haven't really been to one before. I think I've been to about two O Weeks before - one was to get textbooks (timing largely coincidental), and the other was when I did a cross-institutional unit and met up with a friend. Which was nice, but hardly qualifies as attending O Week.

This time around - which is, incidentally, my first and last O Week at this university - I'm kinda assuming that I don't know much more than academic writing, so I'm definitely going to every graduate education thing out there. Mostly useful, too - but that's hardly surprising. I also went to an Intro to Uni thing, which was about as useful as cranberry sauce - I'm sure it's useful, just not to me.

I've found out which high school I've been assigned to. Of course, I'm not really able to say which one (I think they call that 'employment suicide'), but it's a Catholic all-girls high school which is within hiking distance (a bit further than walking distance) away from me.
As shown by my experiences last year, I am definitely not a big fan of teaching in a sports-oriented all-boys school (far too much testosterone), and I'd really rather not have to play the game to teach in a state school, so this could very easily be the kind of place where I'll end up teaching. It's very exciting and - dare I say - providential that I've been allocated this school with absolutely no prompting from me.

Part of the whole going-to-O-Week-lectures deal has been, obviously, catching the bus to get to and from uni. Happened to have this totally random meeting with a girl, and kept bumping into her, and we'd recognise each other (mostly nodding) and finally today we introduced ourselves (to be honest, I thought that I was supposed to know who she was and I'd forgotten!). Really cool random event - just thought I'd share.

Oh - and I took my adjudicating test on Tuesday to keep my accreditation and to adjudicate debates this year. I need the cash...

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Woah, it's been a while! Essays, Birthday, Debating

Definitely a tiring couple of weeks!

I'm kinda sorry that it's been so long since I've posted - lots has been happening!

Well, that's not entirely accurate: my essays have been getting done. I'm now finished for this semester of theological studies - two weeks, and my teaching qualification begins. No rest...
I've shown a few essays to some people who I would estimate as having some level of expertise in the area, and generally gotten some really good feedback, which is very encouraging. Tomorrow I'll go through the essays, make sure that what I was writing at 3am is actually understandable, make sure that I'm not inadvertantly saying any heresies, that kind of thing.

Aside from that...
It was my birthday on Friday - last one before I'm classed as being in my mid-twenties, as a friend politely reminded me. Celebrated on the day with my parents coming over (more at end) and debating (more later). Also celebrated on Saturday night at Lone Star restaurant.

I'm not sure if it's profitable to experience this, but I'm almost feeling bored. I'm used to being very actively involved, ecclesiastically speaking, and aside from my actual theological education itself, I don't feel like I'm doing terribly much, and between that fact and my own ruminations, it's difficult not to take that very badly.

On the aforementioned Friday, I got back into doing adjudicating at my alma mater, which I always enjoy. I think that this year I've nailed down my adjudication to a few very simple points - don't look like a robot, don't look like a slob, and that palmcards are supposed to be cards the size of your palm. Then I can talk about the main point that the debate was decided on, give individual points or feedback, and finish up.
The problem with doing this is that I've been attacking looking like a robot for a few years now, so I naturally think that they should have gotten it by now. In other words, my experience combines with my irritation (and it's a boring way to present, so it combines with enough time - while bored - to think of what I'm going to say) and it happened to culminate in a massive rant that actually took the shape of what a debating speech should look like - brief intro, launching into four points with a summary (individual comments) and conclusion (final score).
Sounds good? I'm considered to be unique amongst the adjudicators for my attacks, and am considered to be the nasty adjudicator (enough so that I get a mention at the debating dinner!) - our debaters are generally aware of this, but often their parents aren't...which can create some rather sticky situations. Fortunately, I got out of them (mainly because I'm right, and because I gave the debate to that person's team anyway), but it's definitely an occupational hazard!

I've also gained a great enjoyment out of playing mahjong. Great game. Got a set for my birthday from my parents, too. Anticipate lots of enjoyment :-D

I've also started going to a Toastmasters group. Attendance may get sketchy with Lent coming on, but I'd like to develop my involvement there.